On our final day of Diabetes Blog Week 2012 (boo, so sad!), we are ending the week on a high note by blogging about our "Diabetes Hero." As Karen suggests: "It can be anyone you'd like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a D-celebrity or role model. It could be another DOC member. It's up to you — who is your Diabetes Hero?"
Well, I wasn't sure what to write here. My mind wandered...
It might depend on whether we're talking Avenger-like heroes, who save the planet and have cool gadgets to fight crime (do pumps, meters or awesome suits like Caleb envisions count?). Or whether we're talking more sentimental "role models" who we look up to for the life lessons they've taught us?
Maybe it depends on the definition of a hero.
Merriam-Webster gives us some food for thought: a mythical or legendary figure with great strength or ability, an illustrious warrior, someone admired for achievements and qualities, or someone who shows great courage.
There's also the whole Diabetes Heroes online initiative that Roche Diagnostics/Accu-Chek created last fall, highlighting the "trailblazers and torchbearers" in the diabetes community and all the unsung advocate heroes out there. That provides some guidance on what else might classify someone as a hero.
And no, I'm not just mentioning her in a belated attempt to score points a week after Mother's Day. (Love you, Mom!).
Rather, I'm mentioning her because I admire what she's accomplished in her own D-life, as someone diagnosed at age 5 and reaching the level of a 50-year Joslin Medalist. Someone who lived through the days now known as the "dark ages" of diabetes, fought for herself and then endured the experience of her only son being diagnosed at the same young age in 1984.
My mom has saved my life, countless times. Maybe not in the same way that Ironman or Superman may have saved someone from an evil villain, but by making sure I woke up and didn't die in bed because of a low blood sugar.
I think of her gratefully for trying to teach me, without being too strict or pushy, about the mistakes she'd made as a teen and young adult. For teaching me to stand on my own two feet and fight for myself and others, because sometimes the world doesn't understand diabetes and we PWDs become the target of that lack of understanding or straight-up misinformation. (As a person with diabetes I'm always talking to non-D people who often don't "get it.")
The experience of not only conquering your own D-life, but standing out as a superhero in your D-child's life is something beyond admirable. It's downright inspiring to me. And what about my own dad, who's not only been an awesome parent but someone who's had to take on the dual-role of a type 3 for both me and my mom? All I can say to that man is: bravo! You're a hero in your own right.
OK, now I'm all emotional about this post. Seriously, I'm tempted to stand up from my computer right now and just give a standing ovation to every single superhero mom and dad who does what is necessary for their child with diabetes. You all rock, and I can't think or speak highly of you enough!
But to my mom specifically: I love you. Thanks for not only taking the steps to help me learn and become the man I am today, but for being an inspiration to so many others who need to see that it is possible to have a successful life with diabetes for 50+ years. You are inspiring a whole new generation of "heroes," just by being who you are and sharing your story.
You're my hero, mom.
OK, sappiness aside. It's time to sign off because my bat signal... er, Dexcom CGM, is going off. Apparently, someone (read: me) is in danger of going low and needs help. Too bad I'm a little too old now to yell for my mom. Time to make use of my own utility belt, learning what I have from the heroes who've taught me how to conquer my own D-life.